BRITAIN could scrap some of its nuclear warheads as part of a wider deal on disarmament, Gordon Brown said today.
He called on the world's nuclear powers to reduce stockpiles to lower the risk of the weapons falling into the hands of extremists.
In a keynote speech to scientists and diplomats at Lancaster House the Prime Minister said: "Step by step, we have to transform the discussion of nuclear disarmament from one of platitudes to one of hard commitments." Putting a significant portion of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table, he said: "Britain has cut the number of its nuclear warheads by 50 per cent since 1997 ...
If it is possible to reduce the number of UK warheads further Britain will be ready to do so." Mr Brown said the six countries with confirmed nuclear capability had to show moral leadership by striking a "grand global bargain" to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. "We are at a decisive moment, facing risks of a new and dangerous nuclear era," he said.
His call came as Barack Obama is preparing for his first meeting with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at the G20 summit in London, with the issue of arms control high on the agenda.
The US President is keen to negotiate a successor to the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that was signed in 1991 and expires at the end of this year.
Mr Brown added: "For our part -- as soon as it becomes useful for our arsenal to be included in a broader negotiation, Britain stands ready to participate." Mr Brown also sent a warning to Iran that it will face tougher United Nations sanctions if it continues to try to obtain nuclear weapons. If Iran agreed, he said, Britain would help it develop peaceful nuclear power.
Mr Obama has said that compliance by Iran would enable America to scale back its missile defence plans, which have caused tensions with Russia, even though the Kremlin has denied that the two issues are linked. …